“Get to the hospital quick, boys.” Sheriff Banks gave orders with aplomb - a fact CJ admitted only begrudgingly. “We have reason to believe the vehicle you’re looking for will be getting out of there sooner rather than later.” With that, the patrol car was off, and the Sheriff turned to the PI. CJ had a lump in his throat.
“On to the fun part,” Banks smirked, and CJ scowled. “C’mon, you can ride with me, we’ll get there faster.”
Once the stolid pair were loaded up in the Sheriff’s truck, it was clear the Sheriff didn’t need any directions. The trip was short, tense and silent, to the point that CJ found himself wishing Banks had some kind of barb just to fill the emptiness. It wasn’t long before they were pulling up to their destination - the home of one Peter Glenn.
The house was small, humble, with flaking paint and a creaky gate across the driveway. The season meant Glenn’s trees and shrubbery were full and green, clearly in much better condition than the house. An old, beat up SUV sat in the driveway - CJ wasn’t sure to be relieved or disappointed to find his old friend’s old car still present at the house. The Sheriff parked his vehicle across the driveway and opened up the old gate, giving CJ a wink as they proceeded through before closing the gate behind them. The gravel crunched beneath their feet as they approached - CJ spotted a blind shift in one of the windows in response to the sound and he did his best to stay stoic during the brief contact.
The Sheriff bounded up to the porch and pounded on the door.
“Open up, Glenn. Sheriff’s Office.”
CJ was starting to think he just shouldn’t have come at all - but this was the job. This was what he’d signed on for at the very start; whether he was a cop, a deputy, a sheriff or a PI.
Glenn opened the door with a broad smile and a crinkled brow.
“Sheriff! Cal! Good to see you both - what brings you to my little home here? You find something out about the case? Tell me whoever did it has insurance and they’ll fix my jeep.”
Glenn had the door opened just narrowly, and he was standing in the entrance - he wasn’t a small man by any means, but CJ could still spot a glimpse of a go-bag sitting at the threshold. The black duffel was still open, with the satellite phone still visible tucked hurriedly into the zipper.
“Going somewhere, Petey?” Banks said as he looked down at the bag.
“Oh y’know,” Glenn said and sheepishly rubbed his hand through his hair. It came away with just a touch of perspiration on it. “The job’s kinda coming apart. Figured a little self-care was called for, thought I’d go visit the grandparents.”
CJ shook his head, and Glenn’s bright mood darkened. The Sheriff’s lips tightened - CJ had no doubt that if it came to it, Banks could and would deck poor Peter.
“Glenn. Make this easy on everyone,” the PI growled. “The jig’s up. It’s the process of elimination. Nobody else was there, nobody else came or went. Maybe, maybe your play would have worked if the dig was more easily accessible, if there weren’t so many witnesses, if you didn’t call probably the one person who knows you thoroughly to come investigate you.”
“I don’t know what you mean, Cal,” Glenn said, still smiling, now edging back away from the door.
“It’s for the insurance papers? Really?” CJ’s voice rose steadily as he joined the Sheriff on the porch. “That was the first thing you said to me when I got on site! ‘Here Cal, sign the papers that can guarantee they can pay my paycheck!’ Just at the expense of an entire heritage site!”
“You’re starting to sound like Brian, buddy.” Glenn was still smiling, but the strain was clear on his face, and he’d started to sweat.
“Okay, okay, I’ve let you have your little confrontation.” Banks rolled his eyes theatrically. “Glenn, let’s go. Let’s chat down at the office –”
Glenn rushed for the door. He forgot the bag, forgot the fence across his driveway and the Sheriff’s car in front of his own. He made his move, lowering his shoulder and making a break for it - Sheriff Banks had him by the arm in an instant, turning on a heel and slamming the fleeing man into the wall of his own home.
“Peter Glenn, you’re under arrest,” Banks said with open exasperation, as though he was disappointed with Glenn for the attempt. “I appreciate the probable cause, don’t know if I could have taken you in with good conscience minus the escape attempt.”
“You won’t find anything, Cal.” Glenn’s smile had dropped as the Sheriff cuffed him and marched him to the vehicle. “You won’t. I know you, I know where you’d look and where you won’t. There’s no proof. The only prints on that bat are its owner’s. Nobody saw anything!”
“You’re rambling, Glenn.” CJ shook his head. “Ramble on. The more you talk, the better idea I have of how to find your little cache of history.”
“They need that insurance money, Cal. The whole program’s coming apart - the doc, Lyla, this is their livelihoods too. Let them get something out of this.”
CJ reached down to pluck a blade of green grass from the lawn. He locked it firmly between his teeth, then turned his back to Glenn. He ground the blade harshly as he heard the door to the Sheriff’s vehicle open up. His shoulders dropped when the door slammed shut, and he had to turn to prepare for the ride back.
“That’s that, huh?” Banks grunted as he opened up the driver’s side door. CJ didn’t answer.
The drive back to the office was silent and grim - at least till the radio crackled on. “Sheriff.” The voice of one of the deputies they’d sent to the hospital sounded through.
“I’m here,” Banks responded, glancing at CJ as if to make sure he was paying attention.
“The dig site jeep’s gone. The doctor signed the security guard out a little while ago, neither of them are here.”
CJ scowled, and Banks put a hand to his brow.
“Well …” The sheriff said.
CJ plucked the grass out from between his lips, and flicked it dismissively out the window with a sigh.